Back to Mike's LifeWeb


Mike Atkin died on August 18, 2022. Mike and his wife Ann lived at Channing House, a retirement community in Palo Alto, California. He was 95 years old.


Born and raised in New York City, Mike graduated from Stuyvesant High School and joined the Navy. In 1947 he married Ann Spiegel and graduated with a B.S. in chemistry from City College of New York. He earned an M.A. in science education from New York University (NYU) the following year. Mike's teaching career began before he completed his studies, educating elementary and high school students about science in Great Neck and Flushing, New York. He completed his Ph.D. in Science Education from New York University.


In 1955, the family relocated to the Midwest when Mike accepted an offer as assistant professor of science education at the College of Education at the University of Illinois in Urbana- Champaign. Before moving, he used to joke that they had never been further west than the Hudson River.


In 1966, he became the College of Education's associate dean for research and four years later dean of the College of Education. In 1979 the family relocated to Palo Alto, CA where Mike became the dean of Stanford University's Graduate School of Education. Mike remained on the Stanford faculty until he retired in 2004.


He made significant contributions to his field locally, nationally, and internationally. Wherever he worked, he was regarded as warm, supportive, and welcoming. Mike and Ann loved inviting students and colleagues into their home for meals and stimulating conversation. He loved travel, family, photography, and his relationships with colleagues and students.


Mike is survived by his wife of 75 years, Ann; his three children, David (Mary Steiner), Jon (Betsy Carter), and Ruth (Shifrah Tobacman); his three grandchildren, Alexander (Alex), Elizabeth (Liz), and Michael; his niece, Nina Lindhoff; and nephew, Marc Atkin.